Mike Webb, publicity director at The Nation, got wind through a friend that his magazine was Dave Matthews’ favorite read. Webb called C-VILLE Weekly’s editor, who put Webb and The Dave together through contacts at Red Light Management. That led to a photo shoot after a DMB gig in Boston. The ad is part of a series entitled “No One Owns The Nation,” and is out in this month’s edition. It will also be in print in an upcoming holiday issue. Matthews added his mug to the ad series that has included stars from Paul Newman to Russell Simmons. You can buy a copy on newstands now.
Another local music celebrity who reads The Nation is record collector Brent Hosier. His two anthologies of 1960s Virginia music, Aliens, Psychos and Wild Things, and Ol’ Virginia Soul, are must-buys for raucous parties, fans of rock nuggets, and interested musicologists.
Hosier started record shopping with a friend in the black record shops in Richmond in the early 1970s, where he began picking up LPs by local artists like Mr. Wiggles. “My friend got me into it. The problem then was I didn’t know what I was looking for,” he says. He found himself an avid collector when, in 1973, he bought a copy of The 13th Floor Elevators’ single “You’re Gonna Miss Me” (“I was knocked out immediately”). The next year, Hosier was traveling to New York City looking for more records by the band. Now, he says, “there is something about the recording sound back then that I like.”
Hosier’s passion for collecting old vinyl has, happily for music lovers, spilled over into his professional life. He has released seven CDs of 1960s-era, mostly Virginia-based garage, psychedelic and soul music. The first volume of Aliens, Psychos and Wild Things was made up exclusively of garage bands from the Virginia Beach and Norfolk area, and included one cut that had been recorded in Vietnam by a Tidewater-based GI. Volume Two expanded the geographical area, with one band hailing from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The third volume, more psychedelic than the previous two, drew from an even greater geographical area. The fourth volume is due out this fall.
Hosier has also released three volumes of soul music on Ol’ Virginia Soul. He says the third one is far and away the best. He says he was able to mine all of the soul cuts from the Virginia area because the era of soul music in Virginia was stronger and longer-lived than garage music.
While most of the cuts on Hosier’s CDs came straight out of his own collection, there are some tunes that, on vinyl, are “very rare and high dollar,” and he had to borrow other collectors’ LPs to get the tunes he wanted for his CDs. He has also taken tunes from 1/4" recording tape that he found, tunes that he says probably would never have been released.
Hosier has been dedicated enough to do most of the distribution legwork himself, and Norton Records in New York licensed one of the Aliens CD for release on vinyl. (He’s even gotten an offer from an English distributor, Jazzman, to license his third OV Soul CD in Great Britain.) But Hosier says that, in the age of downloading and burning, distribution has become more complicated. He knows for a fact that the first two volumes of OV Soul have been bootlegged and sold in England, online and in stores. Bootlegged copies include everything but the extensive liner notes that Hosier adds to legitimate copies.
Hosier says you can check online for legit copies of any of his CDs at www.dcd
records.com—an interesting website based in Orange—or at Plan 9. While Parts one and two of Ol’ Virginia Soul are currently out of print, he says it’s very likely someone will put them back out.
When I spoke to Hosier, he was in Richmond remastering for a new CD. He had also just located some vinyl in Tidewater from The Phelps Brothers, who were recording rockabilly music there in the 1950s. He was helping the couple who owned the records sell them, and he was also headed up to a record fair later his month in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
I asked Hosier if there were any current artists whose music he was enjoying, and he said, “Despite myself, I like Cat Power. The sound of her voice and her songwriting. It is intense without being over the top.”